Wednesday, August 13, 2008

cute pirate children

Here are the kids being cute. They literally stood next to me like this for a minute when they saw the camera. I had just taken it out to put some pictures on the computer, but I had to take advantage of this sweet little sibling moment.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

San Antonio

Matt and I loaded the children into our nice new minivan in Maryland and arrived in San Antonio two days later, with stains on the upholstery and travel weary souls. San Antonio has, thus far, proven well worth the drive.

We're staying in TLF which, depending on your attitude, is about the size of an awesome hotel room or a seriously tiny apartment. We've got a separate bathroom and one bedroom, with a little kitchen and a fold out couch in the living room. It's not a huge space, but it's plenty for our little family (especially if Matt doesn't take the car keys to work by mistake and leave me stranded here all day...)

San Antonio is bigger than Salt Lake and smaller than Chicago...big enough to have lots of fun activities, and small enough that you can park anywhere you go. Our main activity during the week we've been here (other than gawking at the cheap houses!) has been going to the zoo/park. The zoo is set within a larger park area, and there is a small train that runs around the whole thing. Jack has ridden it three times and talks about little else. We bought a membership to the zoo and plan on going often while we're here.

We also had Jack's 3rd birthday on Sunday--a relatively sedate experience because we are 1200 miles away from any of his friends and didn't have a party. Still, I made him a lopsided cake that he accepted as his lightning mcqueen cake and gave him his tricycle. He's been riding the tricycle everywhere, from the laundry room to the park and even out to the car. I love three year olds. :)

(While I write this, Jack has watched the video clip we took of him blowing out his candles 8 times and is working on nine. I think I might throw the camera away if I have to hear myself sing Happy Birthday off key one more time...:))

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Always wear your seatbelts!

I started to write an entry about our trip out to San Antonio, but I mentioned our new minivan, and the only way I could possibly begin to justify the fact that we now own a minivan (yuck) is to mention the car accident that required the purchase of a new car, and one does not simply gloss over an accident in which a car is left in a twisted heap of metal on the side of the highway and everyone manages to get out alive. I know, because I made the mistake of trying. Once word got out about how serious the accident was, I got yelled at a lot by the people I had simply told, "I was in a car accident but I'm fine."

There's not a lot in the way of narration because I was asleep (at the wheel) for the most interesting part of the accident--the impressive drift off the road and subsequent launch over the guard rail. The two eye-witnesses differed somewhat: I either hit a rock that launched me over or simply popped up on a low section of the railing, but the first thing I remember, I was barrelling over dirt and rocks at 65+ mph and thinking, "if I brake and swerve, I can get back onto the road and I won't have to call a tow truck." Then in a split second--so fast I didn't process it all for hours--I rolled several times, lost most of a tire, and landed on my side, with the airbag deployed and one window shattered. To my credit as a mom, I turned around and saw that the kids were okay before I started getting annoyed by all the damage I'd just caused. I actually sat there, alive in my utterly destroyed car, and fumed because I would have to pay to get the airbag repacked and the window replaced. Never mind the fact that, oh, I was on my side and the rest of my car was unrecognisable. It was the airbag that annoyed me. Funny how the mind works in times of stress--mine just refused to acknowledge it.

I had to crawl out of the broken side window and see my children trapped in the backseat, with all doors smashed beyond use, before I got scared. I searched around for my cell phone, but it had been sitting on the dash board and had flown off into the woods somewhere. I ran barefoot up to the highway and started to flag some cars down before I noticed the car that had already stopped ahead of me and the man coming from it. He had seen the accident occur, and in retrospect, he must have been surprised to see me running around like a crazy woman on the side of the interstate. He turned out to be a volunteer paramedic and was probably furious with me for moving after such trauma. He came back to the car, helped me inspect the damage and agreed that the kids were not going to be leaving the car through the doors. Several more people stopped--gave me blankets, a coat, helped pull the kids, then their car seats, slowly out through the passenger side window. They took us to the ambulance to check us out and wouldn't let us leave, despite my pleas for a cell phone. I was still in serious shock when we pulled away from the scene, and there are so many details lost: where I was, who had helped me, and most importantly, what that guard rail was in place to guard me from.

I was in West Virginia along route 68 when the accident happened...about 3.5 hours through a 7 hour trip back to Maryland from Dayton, OH. Matt was still in Dayton, and when he got my phone call, left the hospital immediately to come get us. When he did, we stuffed everything from the wrecked car into his car, knowing now that the car was totalled and that we wouldn't see it again. It was sobering to see the car sitting in the salvage lot, and even more sobering to watch the reaction of the people who had towed it. "you were inside that car when it crashed?" We wanted a picture, but couldn't find the camera in the mess.

We escaped with some seriously sore muscles and bruises, but nothing else. It was miraculous in so many ways--that everyone was wearing seat belts, that the car chose to veer off the road and not into other cars, that I fell off the road at, in seemed, the one section of West Virginia with no cliff, no river, no rocky outcropping. It was even miraculous in its own way, that technology has developed to make cars safe even faced with such a disaster. We were very lucky, and I'm still processing it all 2 months later. I'm still thinking about the things that God still wants me to do here.

So, we got a minivan to replace the sonata, because we were going to buy one in a year anyway. Now I'm a minivan mom who always, always, ALWAYS wears her seatbelt.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Fireman Pole and the Phychology of Gender

Yesterday I observed something that called to my attention one of the many undeniable differences between the genders. Jack decided that it was the day for him to learn about the fireman pole (yes, this is the official term). The fireman pole is a pole affixed to the "big kids" half of the playground equipment, towering four feet above the ground, jutting out from the platform surrounded by nothing. I have, in the past, made a habit of keeping Jack away from this area to prevent his mindlessly walking off the ledge. I haven't policed the area in a while, though, assuming that if he has not yet developed the good sense to avoid running off the edge, it is a good time for him to develop it.

This is, of course, where I made my first incorrect assumption: I thought (as most rational women would) that, presented with a situation that causes him pain or damage, he would avoid it in the future. Thought process as follows:

walking-walking-walking-->FALL-->pain. Ow--> That hurt.-->I would like to avoid pain like that in the future. --> Perhaps I should look where I am going next time so that I don't fall off that threatening ledge.

Alas. Not so with my little boy. His first attempt at sliding down the pole was predictable: he reached his too-short arm out to hold the pole and, leaning farther to wrap his other arm around, fell four feet down onto soggy woodchips. He cried; I hugged him, brushed the woodchips off his knees and hands, and set him off to play on a safer piece of equipment. I had barely left the spot when I turned to see that he had returned and was attempting the very same manuever. With the same results, except this time, he didn't cry and brushed his own knees off. Thus, his thought process looked more like this:

running-running-running--> JUMP!-->ouch.--> that was totally wicked!-->I bet that if I try that again, I can get even more air...

This happened 6 times. Each time he picked himself up, I was sure that this fall would be the one to teach him his lesson. Each time, however, he ran directly back to the ladder and seemed even more excited to try again. It was only as I was tempted to pull him off the equipment and strap him into his stroller to prevent more self-inflicted injury that I remembered something that I read. Somewhere.

The book's premise was that boys and girls are different, and it mentioned that while women tend to avoid situations with any inherent risks, men will weigh risk against possible benefit. The benefit in this case being the thrill of hurtling through the air from a distance twice your height. The risk, of course, being breaking your ankles.

Seems reasonable enough once you look at it from the male perspective. I'm telling myself that my policy of non-intervention was a good parenting move. I may change my mind when Jack takes up snowboarding.